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The Poor and The Church

Written by: Dr Mok Chan Wing Yan  

Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46 

This is a familiar story about the Last Judgment. The criteria Lord Jesus based on to separate the righteous from the wicked are whether they cared for the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the strangers and the imprisoned. Those who serve the disadvantaged are deemed righteous; those who sit back and ignore the poor are condemned as the wicked. This story is an important lesson for churches today. 

CEDAR partners and community members pray together.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we should never stand idly by when surrounded by the poor and the oppressed. We must try to alleviate the suffering around us. The poor can be kept from extreme poverty with the help of brothers and sisters within the church. Indeed, the church cannot make people rich; at least, it is a safety net that prevents extreme poverty. Outside the church, we should also try our best to serve the disadvantaged in our society. Following this biblical teaching, the church has been involved in ministries such as medical services, prison visits, etc. The church should act to spread the gospel. 

The Bible also teaches us that serving the weak is serving Christ. People who lend the weak a helping hand probably do not expect any return, because the disadvantaged are generally helpless and are unable to return the favour. But when the righteous have no desire for reward, they unwittingly serve Christ. Therefore, serving the poor is not a one-sided giving but a gift we receive; it is a glory to serve Christ.

Poverty and injustice have been persistent. In this online world, we constantly witness disasters and hardships from around the globe on a couch at home. As an individual, we do not have the power to solve global poverty and injustice, but the church can always be a blessing to a small group of people on a small scale.

Let’s Think

Does your church care about poverty and injustice in society? If not, where should we start?

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